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Two Auburn men sped away from a traffic stop on an interstate in Pennsylvania and tossed illegal drugs out the window during a chase last week, Pennsylvania State Police said.

According to a news release, Nicholas Neville, 31, and Merritt Fletcher, 30, initially pulled over in their vehicle, a 2021 Toyota Rav4 with Georgia license plates, for a traffic stop Wednesday on Interstate 80. They consented to a search of the vehicle, which was stopped near the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border, but as a state trooper was waiting for backup to arrive, the pair ran back to their vehicle and drove off heading west.

During a subsequent chase, according to the news release, “large quantities of suspected illegal controlled substances” were tossed out the window. Troopers later recovered packaging with residue.

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Additional state police units assisted in the pursuit and unsuccessfully attempted to deploy spike strips to puncture the tires of the vehicle, which Neville was driving, the news release said. The chase ended about 20 miles down the interstate when the presence of a box truck slowed the vehicle and allowed a trooper to catch up and use a pursuit intervention technique. As Neville lost control, the vehicle left the interstate and rolled multiple times.

“A significant amount of illegal controlled substances were thrown about the inside of the vehicle,” the news release said.

Neville and Fletcher were taken into custody and then transported by ambulance to a hospital for treatment of injuries from the crash. They later were processed and taken to Monroe County Correctional Facility.

Both face numerous criminal charges, including the felonies of manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver controlled substances and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer. The also face five misdemeanor charges, and Neville was charged with four traffic violations.

According to online Pennsylvania court records, the defendants are both now out of custody. Fletcher posted $50,000 bail bond while Neville posted $100,000 bail bond. They are due back in court for preliminary hearings on June 15.

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